Obfuscation through Pedanticism











Ever find yourself in a conversation with some people who suddenly switch to another language to talk to each other? While certainly a bit rude, there are a couple reasons why they might have done this: They may be more fluent in that language, perhaps needing to get to the point quickly, or were at a loss for words in English, but more likely, they didn’t want you to know what they were saying. This is the same reason parents “spell” words around their toddlers: “Do you think we could get some I.C.E. C.R.E.A.M after dinner?” Continue Reading…

The Loss of Creative Innocence















Ever have an idea, invention, or creative thought, only to find out somebody somewhere in the world had already done that same thing? Continue Reading…

Why Improvisation Matters













If you don’t play jazz, blues, or some other type of music that involves spontaneous playing, you might wonder what purpose there is in learning to improvise. Sure, “jazzheads” can sit around listening to John Coltrane or some other historic figure, but how can this arcane skill be of any value to a contemporary musician? Listen to popular songs, film scores or even academic classical compositions, and you will hear very little improvised material. Even in the classic rock guitar-hero era, most solos were brief 8-bar affairs that could (and often were) pre-composed by the soloist. So what’s the point of putting in massive amounts of time for this “obsolete” skill? Why not just work it all out in advance?

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Myths and Mysteries about Technique











I believe in clarifying terms, not to dwell on word-play or language, but to identify concepts and approaches to get things done. In our journey as musicians, the term “technique” gets tossed around and is used to describe many different things. Let’s examine this, and find a definition that helps us move forward.

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Symmetrical Scales – Geometry in Music
















In the previous article, we examined seven-note scales, arguably the most “familiar” sounds in tonal music. Since 7 doesn’t divide evenly into 12, these scales can’t be symmetrical, meaning they don’t repeat an interval sequence. (except at the octave, of course) Today, we will examine scales that are formed using interval patterns, with numbers of tones other than 7.  Continue Reading…

How Many Scales Are There, Really?
















One thing my students often ask about is “scales” and which ones to learn. In an effort to clarify this, here are some permutational ways to look at this question. Keep in mind, I’m not really talking about which ones are most useful, or how to practice and apply them. What we will do here is do a little surveying, to see what’s out there. First, let’s establish some boundaries:

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Gotcha! (off-topic)


It seems that being insincere, criticizing something that you actually do yourself, hiding your “true” purpose or painting yourself as righteous when you are not, is the worst possible sin.
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Creativity: You’re Doing it Wrong (Part I)















Well, not necessarily, but you probably could be doing it better. What is “creativity” and how do we make it happen? Continue Reading…

Each of Us is a Universe












When we close our eyes, we still sense all our surroundings; this is because we live in a virtual reality inside our mind. Our raw sensory input would be overwhelming and confusing, so we filter and process it into our own private 3D film, with surround sound. These internal constructs are really the only way we interact with the “real” world. The reason our dreams seem so real is that the same “hardware” we use to process what happens around us can be run as a simulator during our downtime.

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I Have a Subjection, Your Honor















Subjective (adj.)

modified or affected by personal views, experience, or background <a subjective account of the incident>

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